ONE POTATO, TWO POTATO…
Rachael is a 40-year-old widow and lives in Kenya with her family of seven. She has three of her own children, is a guardian of another two, and also looks after her sister’s two children. With no savings, no home and no way of making money, desperate times fell on Rachael so she took her family and sought shelter with her brother in an informal settlement in Nairobi.
In 2009, nine years after her husband’s death, Rachael fell ill with meningitis and was forced to spend the money she’d been saving for a business on hospital fees. Life became so difficult that at one point, Rachael even considered abandoning the two extra children because she couldn’t afford to feed them.
Rachael says, ‘I saw total darkness in broad daylight.’
But since 2015, Rachael’s life couldn’t be brighter. And it’s all thanks to Women of Faith, a self-help group run by Tearfund partner, St. John’s community centre (SJCC), and… the humble potato! Through members saving only a small amount of their own money each week, Women of Faith was able to loan Rachael enough money for a one-eighth sack of sweet potatoes. Rachael boiled and sold the potatoes, and within two weeks was able to pay off her loan and take out a bigger loan to buy more.
After clearing the loan, Rachael borrowed enough money to buy half a sack of potatoes. Business is now thriving and Rachael is earning more than enough to feed and educate the children in her care.
A secure future
Through the confidence she has gained from being part of the self-help group, Rachael now attends the local chief’s meetings where she encourages other women to set up their own business. Rachael is on a mission to ensure that bereaved doesn’t have to mean bankrupt for Kenya’s women.
[Article by kind permission of Tearfund UK]
Discover more on: http://www.tearfund.org/